Clown Beetle with Phoretic Mites

Subject: Infested Beetle
Location: grand rapids michigan
May 15, 2015 11:21 pm
I found this beetle on a log after dark. Its about the size of an index fingernail and just about as flat as one. The thing that I found really interesting is that its belly is covered with what appear to be aphids. At first I thought they were eggs or offspring but they really look like aphids, and they don’t resemble their host whatsoever. It doesn’t move much and seems content to just sit there… Hopefully you find this as interesting as I do.
Signature: dave

Clown Beetle
Clown Beetle

Dear Dave,
This very distinctive Beetle is a Clown Beetle, probably in the genus
Hololepta, and it is carrying Phoretic Mites, Neolobogynium americana, that use the mobility of the beetle to be transported from location to location to gain access to food.

Clown Beetle (ventral view) with Phoretic Mites
Clown Beetle (ventral view) with Phoretic Mites

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